Only a Grinch would enjoy to a hopeful little one. It's , but one genius twist can not only soften the blow, but also remind kids what the holiday season's really about.
The trick? Tell children that they while they don't receive presents from Santa, they're now old enough to become Santa. One parent explains:
In our family, we have a special way of transitioning the kids from receiving from Santa to becoming a Santa. This way, the Santa construct is not a lie that gets discovered, but an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit. When they are 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready.
While kindergarten might seem too soon to end the magic, what happens next belongs in the parenting hall of fame. The writer takes the little one out for "coffee" and tells them, "You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too." After pointing out two or three examples of the child's recent good deeds, the "truth" is revealed:
Your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus.You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren't ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE.
The author then asks the child what Santa gets for all of his trouble (besides cookies of course), leading them to the conclusion that it's a good feeling to do something for someone else. The post stresses that the parent must "maintain the proper conspiratorial tone," treating them like the big kid they really are. Finally, the parent reveals the real Santa's duties:
Have the child choose someone they know — a neighbor, usually. The child's mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it — and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn't about getting credit, you see. It's unselfish giving.
The story keeps going, remembering how one son gifted slippers to a cranky neighbor after he watched her get the newspaper in bare feet. While its exact origins are unclear, the little essay has circulated , and it recently popped up again in a .
Charity Hutchinson, who shared the story, told the that she doesn't know where it came from, but "I wish I could say I had thought of it myself ― it's pretty brilliant!" Since she has two sons, she wants to her children enjoy Santa at first but eventually learn that the holiday involves more than just presents.
"Christmas is about helping others, giving selflessly and being thankful for what you do have and not what you don't," she said. "Reading this parent's story made me feel like I could, even as a Christian, encourage my children to believe in him so that one day they could become a Santa and give to others."
While that day may come faster than most parents like, it'll now mark the beginning of a new holiday tradition for years to come.